Another discovery that usually follows soon after arrival is that the tap water in Guatemala is not safe to drink; not for foreigners nor for locals.  It’s not recommended for short-term visitors to use water from the tap for drinking, brushing teeth, or even to cook with.  Long-time residents and Guatemala natives are also unable to safely drink water from the tap.  The troubling water situation is due to poor infrastructure, pollution, population growth, a lack of government funding, and an unregulated water and sanitation sector in Guatemala. 

95% of the water in Guatemala is dangerous to drink.

Furthermore, 97% of the lakes and rivers in Antigua are contaminated. Drinking water in Guatemala that has not been purified can lead to nasty digestive issues from the bacteria and parasites that are ingested.  Kids and adults alike who do not have access to clean water frequently suffer from troubling conditions like diarrhea and cholera. And aside from just being uncomfortable, these conditions can also be fatal. 

5% of Guatemalan children will die before they reach kindergarten or first grade.

In other words, 1 in 20 Guatemalan children will die before he or she is just 5 years old.

The water crisis also affects children in other ways. Children, especially those in rural areas, get sick regularly from drinking unclean water.  When these children are sick, they are less likely to perform well in school, their attendance suffers greatly, and they consistently miss homework assignments and other learning opportunities.  Children who get sick frequently have less established academic and social routines which can have long-lasting effects on their learning opportunities and experiences.  To promote health and hygiene, community workers in Guatemala commonly encourage individuals to boil or chlorinate their water for purification purposes.  Boiling water or chlorinating it can be extremely effective for removing harmful bacteria and parasites and most families have access to either chlorine solution or logs for making fire.  That said, it has been discovered that both kids and adults do not like the taste of boiled or chlorinated water and therefore they do not drink it.  

A further complicating factor is that the regular use of indoor fires for boiling water is unhealthy and can cause terrible respiratory problems later in life.  Additionally, the high number of logs used to boil water routinely in Guatemala contributes greatly to terrible deforestation here; more trees are cut down than are planted.  Knowing all of this, we become aware of the complexity of this issue and understand that using boiled water or chlorinated water for drinking purposes in Guatemala is not the best solution to the contaminated water problem. A Solution? Water Filtration

Fortunately, a local Guatemalan man named José Fernando Mazariegos Anleu discovered technology in the nineteen-eighties that is being used to greatly improve the lives of Guatemalans today.  José Fernando Mazariegos Anleu discovered a way to make water filtration inexpensive and accessible using natural materials.  José decided to make his discovery public in order to reach as many people as possible.

José’s technology combines three materials, clay, sawdust, and colloidal silver, to create natural and sustainable water filters. José’s filters are incredibly effective and are able to eliminate 99.99% of dangerous pathogens and bacteria. The filters are also lightweight, easy to transport, and long-lasting.